By Ian Sewell
First off I must apologise for the lack of reports in the last few journals, I am sorry to say that work has taken much of my time lately and not left me time for much else. However now that work has eased and the nights are drawing in I have started on my new task of cross referencing all the Sewell entries in the IGI index with our records, all twenty thousand of them. That should keep me busy for a while!
We welcome Mrs Errayna Hickman to the society who is searching for details on Ann Sewell who married Joseph Hickman on 1st Apr 1741 in Stamford Baron, Lincolnshire. When I checked the records, I had the birth of Ann in Holborn in 1715 based on the IGI entry. However, Errayna had evidence from will and attestations that Joseph Hickman and his relatives were related to Daniel Sewell (chart: RUTlanB) born 1722, Langham. Well, there is an Ann Sewell in this family, sister to Daniel, but our records have her marrying a John Bosden in Uppingham 3rd December 1798 in Uppingham, Rutland.
Further research in to the marriage of Ann Sewell and John Bosden did not provide any more details as the record only says Ann was ‘of this parish’ – that is Uppingham. Since Ann and Daniel’s family were all born in Langham which is about 8 miles away it was logical to assume that this Ann marrying John was the same Ann that was Daniel’s sister.
Errayna was also able to provide details that the Ann Sewell born in Holborn died a spinster, so it was clear that the birth of this Ann was not the right one, but which marriage was correct? I searched Ancestry for any more details on the Bosdens but could find nothing so I asked Maureen Storey if she could look in the Find my Past website. Whilst the two websites cover much of the same ground, in certain counties one site may have better records than the other. She was able to find there was a burial of an Ann Bosden, wife of John, in Medbourne on 19 Dec 1742, followed by a burial of a John Bosden in the same church in 1762. Medbourne isn’t far from Uppingham.
So, it is likely that this family is not the same one as the Sewells from Langham but where did Ann Sewell come from? At the moment, I have no answer to this. It is clear from the evidence that the Ann Sewell who married Joseph Hickman was the Ann of RUTlanB family who went on to have a number of children with Joseph Hickman and left many links between the Sewell and Hickman family. The records have been updated to show the Ann who married John Bosden to be in a small family of her own.
Jan Needham contacted the society to see if we had any details of her great grandfather Abraham Sewell who it was said in her family enlisted in the army but then deserted only to enlist again and then have a distinguished career in the 72nd Highlanders under the name of Joseph Alexander before mustering out and being the mace bearer to the mayor of Darlington Corporation.
My first instinct was to check the military records where Abraham’s details should be recorded even if he deserted but there was nothing. His records from the 1860s as Joseph Alexander were quite complete and apart from the name were accurate as far as Jan could ascertain, so why the story and the name change? Well its seems that Abraham was an illegitimate child and the surname he had taken was that of his stepfather, could this also account for the desertion story? It does seem strange that a man who had such a distinguished career would have deserted only to reenlist. Perhaps the story was created in the family to explain why he changed his name after all being born out of wedlock was quite an issue in the 19th century. Indeed I have the same in my family where my grandfather, who was illegitimate, kept the surname Reeves after his stepfather for many years only to revert back to Sewell, his mother’s name when he came of age and married my grandmother.